Adding another one to the fire: Global Fire Control joins market

Friday, April 1, 2005

EAST MOLINE, Ill. - Seeing an opportunity to reach customers who have been left behind by the larger fire manufacturers in the market, industry veteran Jeff Oppenheimer launched Global Fire Control at the start of this year.

The company, an independent fire alarm manufacturer focused on supporting a network of ESDs, expects to address those clients not serviced by larger companies by providing high levels of customer service and guaranteeing quick deliveries. The company produces products ranging from intelligent addressable fire alarm panels, smoke detectors, pull stations, notification appliances and complete integrated systems.

“It’s nice to tell the customer that the decision is right here and it’s not the stockholders making the decisions,” Oppenheimer, who serves as president and chief executive officer of the company, said.

Lorna Biscontine, inventory management and product control at Global Fire Control, said the company will concentrate as much on product delivery as much as the products themselves.

“We are focusing on the way that we are going to provide the products, such as trying to make sure things arrive on time,” Biscontine said. “In this market, we are all selling the same equipment - it all comes down to how you deliver it.”

Even though the company is still in the middle in its inaugural quarter, as of press time, management has set goals for the future.

“Our five year mission is to be a $10-million company,” Oppenheimer said. “The market is probably $850 million, so our goal is a little over one percent of that market.”

Setting a benchmark number is one thing, meeting it is another. Under Oppenheimer’s direction, Global Fire Controls will meet it by being what he thinks not many companies in the market are today.

“We get there through customer service, ethical values and overall support of the customer,” Oppenheimer said. “Customers are asking for a company that can take and service clients with phenomenal customer support and personal service.”

But just providing enhanced customer service is not going to get the company’s name out to potential users. To address that, Oppenheimer has gone the extra mile to develop advertising and marketing materials to catch eyes.

“People are going to look at our three-ring binders on their desks and notice that they stand out from the rest of the fire alarm manufacturers,” he said.

For now, the company, which currently employs three, is settling into day-to-day operations. Oppenheimer said that he would like to see the company have nine employees and 15 sales representatives on board by January 2006, and plans on signing on 75 distributors to carry the product line in the first year.

Oppenheimer said reaction from the industry has been positive over the past few months.

‘We’ll get there by word of mouth,” he said. “There has been a great response already.”